Cutting Costs on Subscriptions You Don't Use
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September 15, 2016
$10 here, $20 there ... the costs of unnecessary subscriptions and membership plans can quickly add up. It's a good idea to take stock of the subscriptions you have every now and again to weed out the ones you don't use very much. Here are some tips to help you save some money in your monthly budget without necessarily giving up the subscriptions you love.
Take Stock of What You Have
Make a list of all the subscription services you use. Look at your credit card and bank statements to see what you're paying for. Don't be too surprised if you find that a service you canceled is still being charged to your credit card. Ex-customers of the streaming music service, Tidal, were not only being charged, but their accounts were reactivated without their knowledge.
Tip: Make a note of any free trials you sign up for and the date by which you must cancel them before you will be charged. Contact the company for a refund if you are charged for a service you canceled.
Call to Cancel
Most companies offer two options for canceling a service: You can do it either online or by telephone. Calling by telephone may take longer, but it gives you an opportunity to speak with a customer service representative so you can explain why you are canceling. Depending on the company and the service they offer, you may be rewarded with a nice discount — or even no charge at all for one to three months.
For example, newspapers really on subscriber numbers to attract advertisers, while the expense of digital subscriptions is nearly zero. Newspapers sometimes find it's in their best interests to give steep subscription discounts just to keep their subscriber numbers up.
Tip: If a competing service offers free trials, switch. You won't have to pay for one to three months without losing the service.
It may seem counterintuitive, but upgrading your subscription can actually save you money in some cases. If more than one member of your household uses the same subscription, you can save money by upgrading one and cancelling the others. For example, Spotify has a Family Plan option for multiple users in the same household. Upgrading a Netflix membership from Basic to Premium also allows you to use the service on four different devices at the same time.
Tip: If your children are at college or live with another parent, you may be able to share a subscription with them even though they live in another household.
Reevaluate Your Usage
It may not be possible to cancel your membership until the year is up if you have an annual subscription such as Costco or a gym membership. Rather than tossing your membership card in the trash, it may make more financial sense to adjust your habits until the membership is over. Rather than going for coffee, invite a friend to go shopping with you or visit the gym and work out together.
Tip: Some membership plans, including gyms, allow you to sell your membership to someone else.